Drug manufacturer Moderna announced yesterday it would soon start examining its COVID-19 vaccine on children aged 12 to 17 years old.
The study, posted on the website clinicaltrials.gov, is to involve 3,000 children, with 50 percent of them getting two shots of vaccine with an interval of four weeks, and 50 percent receiving placebo shots of saltwater.
However, The New York Times reported that according to what was posted online, Moderna spokeswoman Colleen Hussey said, the study is "not yet recruiting," adding, it was not sure when the "testing sites would be listed" or begin accepting volunteers.
In addition, a link on the website is not yet working, and the spokeswoman said she was not sure as well when it would be activated.
To Start Vaccinating Adults Once Authorized By the FDA
The drugmaker also announced early this week, the data from its investigation in 30,000 adults had found its COVID-19 vaccine to be "91.4 percent effective" and that it had applied for emergency authorization to the Food and Drug Administration to start vaccinating adults.
If the application is granted, certain groups of high-risk adults, which include those in the nursing homes, could get shots later this month.
However, no vaccine can be extensively administered to children until it has been tested in them. Vaccines intended for both children and adults are commonly tested first in the latter to help ensure they are safe for pediatric tests.
The vaccine of Moderna has not yet been tried in either children and women. In this new clinical test in adolescents, girls past their puberty stage will get tested before every injection to be sure they are not pregnant.
Expecting Efficacy of the Vaccine
According to infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University, everyone is anticipating that when it is tested initially in adolescents, "then older children, then the really small kids, that the COVID-19 vaccine will work."
Schaffner, who's also an adviser on vaccines to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added, however, children have more active immune systems compared to adults. They may also have stronger reactions such as "fever, muscle and joint aches and fatigue.
When it comes to what parents should expect if adolescents are given the vaccine, how they might exactly feel from 24 to 46 hours from receipt of the shot, the doctor also said, is that "we really want to tell them it works.
If a child experienced side effects, Dr. Schaffner elaborated, and parents were not prepared for it, they might be unwilling to return for their second shot of the vaccine.
Moderna to Conduct More Tests
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit said vaccines, "for the most part," are equally working well in both children and adults.
Occasionally, as the vaccine for hepatitis B, different doses are needed, the vaccine expert said. Relatively, Moderna will examine the same amount in children that it has tried I, adults.
Pfizer has started testing its COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 12 years old in October. An extensive clinical test found its vaccine to be 95-percent efficient in adults, and the firm has applied for emergency authorization from the FDA.